Tourists flock to UK high streets

highWhile Brits are clutching tightly onto their purse strings, their foreign counterparts seem to be happy to splash the cash on the UK high street.

In a survey, VisitBritain found that overseas visitors had splurged a record £18.5 billion during their visits to the UK,  up seven percent year-on-year from 2010.

The organisation said that this amounted to 25 percent of all expenditure by overseas visitors on the UK’s high streets.

The figure was a refreshing change from the doom and gloom spelled out in recent retail surveys, which continue to show Brits are reluctant to splash their cash on shopping.

Most recently a survey from CBI suggested that seven percent of retailers saw an increase in their volume of sales in the year to February and 29 percent reported a reduction.

However, it doesn’t seem dismal weather and high inflation are putting holidaymakers off.

According to VisitBritain, the majority of the shopping spend was on clothes, with an estimated £2.3 billion generated by fashion-conscious foreign tourists. Many visitors also bought souvenirs, gifts and household goods, accounting for around £1.6 billion.

Of the 18 million visitors, the French were the  most prolific shoppers with over two million trips, followed closely by 1.63 million Germans, 1.63 million Americans, 1.3 million Irish and 1.1 million Spanish.